What’s the Score?

April 30, 2019 by The FlexPro Group

As you probably know from my previous newsletters, each quarter my senior leadership team chooses a book to read and discuss. It’s interesting that even though we all read the same book, there are many different perspectives in the way we each interpret the information. I love how the same content speaks to each of us a little differently and opens our minds to understanding others’ viewpoints. One of our constant goals at FlexPro is to continue to educate ourselves and improve. I believe that our quarterly reading assignments provide an opportunity to continue to learn and grow, not just about a new topic, but about each other as well.

This quarter my senior leadership team is reading “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s a book on building relationships, which I think applies to selling and networking of course, but most importantly for relationship building overall. Ferrazzi believes that, at its heart, networking is about creating connections. Many of us think that successfully networking means that we collect and hand out business cards, shake hands and attend events adding names and numbers to our contact list. However, what does that really get us? Often times, the name, the face and the conversations are quickly forgotten within days. And if you can’t remember meeting “What was his name? The guy with the dark hair? I think he had on a blue shirt?”, chances are Mr. Blue Shirt has forgotten you too.

So how do you build meaningful and successful relationships beyond a handshake and business card? Ferazzi talks about the fact that relationships are formed because people need each other. A successful relationship is not one-sided, it’s a mutual give and take. The most important point that Ferazzi makes is that in any relationship, you can’t keep score. As Ferazzi states, ” It’s never simply about getting what you want. It’s about getting what you want and making sure that the people who are important to you get what they want, too.” In order to do that he notes, “First you have to stop keeping score. You can’t amass a network of connections without introducing such connections to others with equal fervor. The more people you help, the more help you’ll have and the more help you’ll have helping others.”

I especially like the “don’t keep score” advice. Making a true connection is about generosity. I remember my Dad saying to me, “real charity is when you do something for someone with no expectations for something in return”. Whether personally or professionally, I’ve always thought that was great advice by which to live. In project management, good Project Managers should want to do things for their team members and always be available to help. It can be as simple as being there to listen to someone having an issue or bad day and offering support or guidance. Maybe it’s personal and your unbiased opinion can be helpful. Perhaps it’s business related and by being approachable, you now have an opportunity to resolve an issue. As PMs, there are so many ways to build strong relationships with our team and so much of it stems from simply being nice. Treat people with dignity and respect. Be kind. Be thoughtful. A team that feels valued and appreciated will in turn want to do well for you too. Not because they have to or it’s their job to, but because they want to.

As anyone who has done charity or volunteer work knows, it feels good to give. Really good. For the past few years our FlexPro team has volunteered time at the Share Food Program, Inc. in North Philadelphia. This annual day of giving brings out the best in everyone as we roll up our sleeves and help those in need. This is not a relationship we walk into expecting anything in return, yet we all walk away with the gratifying feeling that we were part of something so much bigger than ourselves. I think my takeaway from Ferazzi’s book goes back to what my dad always taught Rose and I. Do something because it’s the right thing to do, not because you expect anything in return. That is how I try to live my life and it’s what I’ve tried to teach my children. It’s the way, as a project manager, I choose to lead my team as well. So as a PM, if you’re struggling to connect with your team and not forming the relationship you hoped to have, try using these seven little words, “What can I do to help you?”

-Lynn Faughey, COO

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